Dec 182011
 

Here’s a simple script that lets you ‘bookmark’ camera positions.

It’s a little redundant since the same thing can be accomplished a number of different ways but after a discussion with another BR BUG member I thought I’d take a swing. So here’s the script (right-clk>save as)

camera_marks

Just uncompress, then copy the script to your addons folder and then activate.

You get a panel in the 3DView>Toolbar that lets you add, delete, and change marks.

 

 

 

 

 

It saves the loc/rot/dofdist/lens to a textblock called CAMERAMARKS. I know this is a hacky implementation but I’m a hack and that’s just what I do. It’s super rudimentary now but it was only about 3 hours of coding and most of that was looking through old code to remember how to setup the UI, which I needed a refresher on anyway so this was a good little project. So tell me what you think, if it’s useful, what it needs to become useful, etc.

Oct 092011
 

 

PLEASE SEE THE NEW BATON ROUGE BUG PAGE, THIS ONE IS SUPER OLD!

 

—–UPDATE—–

Another great meeting everyone!
Next meeting will be January 21st, 2012 – at the Cajun Clickers HQ – 3:00pm-6:00pm

 

—–UPDATE-DEC17th—-

Great meeting everyone. I enjoyed sharing Blender with some new folks, and I enjoyed meeting some local BlenderHeads I didn’t know about and as one 3D veteran offered “It’s good to know you’re not in a vacuum.”

December 17th is the date for the next meeting, at the Cajun Clicker HQ. (See below for link to map.)

I’ll probably make another flyer with the new date and send them out so you can send them to anyone you’d like to share Blender with. Or print them and put them up at your school or work or something if that’s appropriate.

I’ll also be working on scheduling a beginners series, and since we had some interest on Game Engine and Texturing we’ll work on putting together some workshops on those too.

So thanks again for the great meeting and feel free to contact me!

 

—–ORIGINAL POST—–

On November 12, 2011 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm the Baton Rouge Blender User Group will meet at the Cajun Clickers Computer Club. (MAP)

BLENDER USERS
If you’re a Blender user or are interested in learning to use Blender, the free, open-source, 3D content creation suite, then come to this meeting!

Meet other Blender Users in the Baton Rouge area and find out more about the exiting developments in this rapidly growing software!

MEETING TOPICS
At this meeting we will discuss some of the new features in 2.6 and the Google Summer of Code and other branches that include 3D audio, the new photo-realistic rendering engine Cycles, and camera tracking integration in the Tomato branch. We’ll also check out Sintel, and look at some impressive work from Project London.

Baton Rouge area Blender users are encouraged to bring their artwork and demos to show off! Feel free to send it in advance or just bring a thumb drive with some .blends and/or renders.

We will also discuss plans for another Blender introduction class series for beginners and plans for group projects.

MEMBERSHIP
If you use Blender and live in/near Baton Rouge then you’re already a member of the Baton Rouge Blender User Group!

The Cajun Clickers Computer Club offers a wonderful classroom facility for learning Blender and also offers a wide range of other computer related classes.

Blender User Groups members will be encouraged to join the Cajun Clickers Computer Club and enjoy all the classes and opportunities offered for a very reasonable price of $40/year for a whole family.

RSVP
If you plan to attend please let me know through this contact form, or reply to this post, or email me at teldredge at funkboxing dot com. Also if you can’t attend but would like to know about future events, please contact me.

PC’S FOR BLENDER USERS
The system requirements to run Blender are very modest. If you are looking for a PC to run Blender we can work with the CACRC to provide you a PC to be used as capable Blender workstation. The cost may vary depending on need and availability but I will try to arrange for a workable PC (no monitor) for around $180.00. The CACRC has monitors for sale from $60.00. If you are interested in a dual-monitor setup or something specific we can work on that too.

CACRC Blender PC Specs
OpenGL 2.0 Capable Graphics Card
PentiumD 2.8Ghz
2 Gb RAM
80 Gb HDD
Preloaded and tested with Ubuntu Linux and Blender

A class session at the Cajun Clickers.

A NOTE TO ATTENDEES OF THE 2009-2010 CLASSES
If you atteneded these classes and have not heard from me please email me. I am sorry to say I’ve lost some of your email addresses since then so I’d love to hear from you and to get you back on an email list.

 

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you there. In the meantime and as usual- keep Blending!

teldredge (Thomas Eldredge)

Sep 282011
 

My Blender Laplacian Lightning Generator has been accepted into the Blender Contrib SVN!

That means it’s an ‘official’ add-on but is not included in the trunk.

I’ve been using and coding in Blender for nearly 5 years this is a very special moment for me. Blender means a great deal to me and this script is the least I can do to show my appreciation.

I am very proud and honored to have some of my code accepted as part of Blender. I am also very grateful for the intelligent and friendly support I’ve received from Blender coders and from the author of FSLG. I sincerely hope this add-on proves useful to the Blender community.

Thanks to the Blender community for everything. I will keep doing what I can.

Thomas

Aug 072011
 

Made a little Orrey awhile back for this render (on the left side in the magnifying glass) so I decided to rig it up with drivers to animate it.

apparatus

It’s just for looks really, nothing is scaled correctly, orbits are more-or-less arbitrary, I stopped at Saturn, and I only gave Earth and Jupiter moons and Jupiter’s are all wrong. So probably don’t try predicting any astronomical phenomenon with this or anything. Astrological predictions might work though.

Anybody else think those words are too similar? Astronomy, Astrology, also Cosmology and Cosmetology. Darn greek roots…

Anyway- I like clockwork mechanisms, I love space, and Blender rules, so this was pretty much inevitable.

Here’s the .blend file if you want to check it out.

Jul 112011
 

BA Thread

What it Is – ProgrAnimals is an initial framework for variable morphology pose-controlled physics-based animation in Blender, whatever that means.

What it Does – In simplest terms this script creates a game-engine physics based ‘walking ragdoll’ from a user-defined armature, from humanoid biped to something much more bizarre. I think the game ‘Spore’ is probably the best analogy, where people can make creatures and they sort of walk or hobble based on how they’re built. This is the same notion, except much less automatic right now. The user has to define a little more about structure, muscles, and gait.

Why it Be – This is inspired first and foremost by my enduring love of doing horrible things to ragdolls, for which I make no excuses or apologies. The implementation is inspired especially by Cartwheel-3d, SIMBICON, and Philippe Beaudoin, and also by Ari Shapiro’s DANCE. The future goals of this are somewhere between Endorphin, Spore, and may also include possible robotics integration with Arduino. Ultimately I’d like to create a break-dancing robot army to help me stamp out tyranny, oppression, and tired dance moves.

This is the unexpected result of some of what I learned from the whole progranimation thing. I thought I would make a more complex pose-control system, but I ended up wanting to make a more generalized system that could work with arbitrary leg configurations. Originally I think it had something to do with making circuit components walk around on a circuit board but that’s another story, might still do that though. Anyway- this is actually a vastly simplified controller compared to Uno and Deuce in progranimation. No balance feedback, no uprightness vector, not even a collision sensor on the feet, it’s just proportional derivative controllers and a timed state-machine. It’s about the most bare-bones pose-controller I think you could make, but it’s still hilarious to watch it make stuff walk around. I hope to expand from here by giving the torso and legs considerable options as far as number of states, balance sensors, state-switching reactions, etc. First I wanted to get something functional and this is it.

I hope this will be useful and interesting, but it may take a little time to get a creature working. That said, it can be very fun and I hope I’ve made it easy enough to use that most Blender users can figure it out. Here are a couple of walk-throughs that demonstrate how the process works.

I. EDITING WALK STYLES – Changing the gait of a pre-made biped rig.

1) Download this file ProgrAnimals-I-biped.blend and open in Blender2.58a

2) Press ‘P’ to run game engine. Watch as very little happens. Press ‘ESC’ to stop game.

3) Select the iARMa-pg-0 armature (pose-goal armature). Switch to POSE MODE, and change the pose to something approximating this screenshot.

[Exact settings: BONE x|y|z rotation : THIGH0 -45|0|0 | SHIN0 90|0|0 : THIGH1 15|0|0]

4a) Run game again (P).

EXPLANATION: The left leg in the pose-goal armature is the ‘Swing Leg’, the right is the ‘Stance Leg’. They are the pose-goals that the leg will try to assume when in this state. Poses can also be stored in poseLib for convenience.

4b) while not bored: change settings; run game again (P).

5) Select the iARMa armature and switch to EDIT MODE.

6) Select each THIGH bone, change the bones Custom Property legstate = 0 on both.

7a) Switch to OBJECT MODE. Run game again (P).

EXPLANATION: legstate defines if the leg starts on swing or stance, setting both to the same makes the ragdoll jump.

7b) Change one thigh back to legstate = 1 (make the ragdoll walk again)

8} Select the iARMa-THIGHl-k empty (best to select from outliner). Look at the Scale values in the ‘N’ properties view. Change the ‘X’ scale to 10. Do the same on iARMa-THIGHr-k.

9) Run game again

EXPLANATION: The scale setting on these empties define the stiffness and damping parameters for their joints. See progranimation for a better explanation of PD controllers)

10) Edit the iARMa armature. Select the TORSO bone – change the bones Custom Properties: statetimer = .25; zgoal = ‘BALL’

11) Switch to OBJECT MODE. Run game again (P)

EXPLANATION: statetimer times the switch between states, zgoal defines the heading goal of the character. zgoal can be the name of an object or an angle in degrees using the prefix ‘a:’ ex. a:45

 

II. SETTING UP A NEW CREATURE

1) Download this file ProgrAnimals-II-quad.blend and open in Blender2.58a.

2) Select the iARMq armature.

3) In the script editor make sure the variable setupSEQ = 0. Run the script ALT-P. This script will add custom properties to the bones of this armature based on the names of the bones.

BONE SETUP/NAMES:
The script will use bone names as a starting point to setup constraints with axis and angle limits for standard joints. see code for values. THIGH, SHIN, FOOT, TOE, REVKNEE, just use these strings somewhere in the bone. The names aren’t necessary but they make setup much easier as they add the necessary Custom Properties to the bones.

CUSTOM PROPERTIES ADDED TO BONES:
TORSO
statetimer: time to switch states
zgoal: goal in degress ‘a:45’ or object name ‘Cube’
THIGHS
legstate: leg start state (0-swing/1-stance)
legtype: type of leg config (for multi leg setups)
ALL BONES:
usebone: create box for this bone
xyzmin/xyzmax: values to be used to create 6dof rigid body joints
*usebone and legtype are the only values that cannot be modified after this step

4) Select the armature, enter EDIT MODE. Make sure Custom Properties were added to bones. Select the THIGH bones. Change the value of legtype so the front legs are ‘0’ and the back legs are ‘1’. This will let the program distinguish between the different types of legs and will create pose-goal armatures for each leg type. You can have as many types of legs as you want, but for now they only have 2 states each: swing/stance.

5) Switch to OBJECT MODE. Select the armature. In the script editor set variable setupSEQ = 1. Run the script. This will create the boxes and empties for each bone. Boxes are game objects connected by rigid body constraints. Empties define stiffness/damp gains at each joint with their xyz scale values.

6) Select the armature. In the script editor set variable setupSEQ = 2. This will create pose goal armature(s) to be used to define swing/stance state pose goals for each leg type.

7) Adjust pose-goal armature poses as desired. Press ‘P’ to run game engine.

8} Design a crazy five-legged monster and make it chase some other crazy thing around.

9) Game> Record Animation. Rinse, Repeat.

NOTES FOR MAKING YOUR OWN CREATURE:
*Legs must at least have a thigh, the rest is optional. Feet are good to have though.
*Legs can be nearly any config as long as they do not branch (no double-footed legs or anything like that, a long tail is fine though).
*Use very short names on armature or bones, under 5 chars each (sorry).
*Do not use ‘-‘ (dashes) in the names of bones or armatures. I need those.
*The mass of each bone-box is determined by the length of the bone. This can make for very heavy limbs so you might want to adjust this. You may also want to change the shape of certain bone-boxes, that should work as long as you don’t change the origin.
*The settings created for THIGH, SHIN, FOOT, etc. are generic and can be changed to anything. The settings for each joint are combination of the rigid body constraint settings and the stiff/damp parameters. The initial setup of the rigid body constraint is defined by the xyzmin/xyzmax setting on the bone, you can change these Custom Properties before you create this bone-boxes, or you can adjust them in the constraint settings after they’re created.
*Characters should be created facing Y+ forwards.

 

III. TIMER OFFSET – Offsetting state switch timing.

This is a little cheat that offsets the state switch timing for a leg by a given amount. This allows sequential legs like the centipede guy, and galloping quadrupeds and whatnot. Setting it up can be a little tricky and depends on the creature design and the walk style you’re looking for.

Here is the .blend file with script with the timeroffset feature added. The example files for the previous tutorials do not have it. This file also contains all the creatures used in the demo video.

The timeroffset property is added to each leg bone in the armature when the first part of the setup is run (setupSEQ = 0). When the game objects are created the legs will use this bone property offset when that state is triggered.

That’s about it for the offset. It was a lot cheaper than breaking into more than two states and it works pretty well considering how simple it was to implement.

 

IV. BIG WARNING – BUGS and ERRORS and CRASHES! OH MY!

Creating the pose-goal armature in the setup (setupSEQ = 2) turned out to be a total fiasco. I had to con bpy.ops into making some bones for me and every once in awhile it just refuses. It’s a context thing but I never could figure out why it works sometimes and sometimes doesn’t. So enjoy that. If you have a problem with a rig, try it 3 more times, if it still wont work feel free to contact me, I’ll try to help you sort it out.


V. STUFF I HAVEN’T THOUGHT OF YET

I may add notes here in the future when I think of them.

Hey, here’s something- you can ‘deadleg’ a creature by turning all the usebone bone properties to False in a leg. I guess you could make a limping zombie character or something, though you’ll have to compensate the stiff/damp on the other leg so it’s strong enough to carry the weight and the poses will have to be offset so he stays sort of balanced.

Notes – Once you start playing with pose-goals you may notice that there is something horribly wrong with the joint torques. An extreme pose can lift the character off the ground and fly (not in a cool superman way, more like falling up). Clearly this is not physics. Working on that.

Also the feet didn’t stick to the ground like I’d expect so i added a hack where the obj.setLinVel.x.y = 0 on the last object in the chain of the stance leg, which ends up being the toe if you have one. So even in flight forward momentum is lost to this bs-friction-hack. Later I might try adding material friction to the feet or something.

In the future I’d really like to improve the whole implementation in Blender but I think the key will be porting it to the animation system once we get rigid body dynamics in the physics system. It would be great to have these rigs interact more cleanly with other dynamics. I love the game engine but the ‘Record Animation’ thing makes this a really weird workflow, glad it’s there though.

Why No UI? – mostly because the whole setup script is kind of sketchy as it is, it randomly crashes if  you keep remaking ragdolls from the same armature for some reason. Plus these are program driven animations so I think if you’re going to use this for anything you’re going to have to get into the code eventually anyway.

Personal Request – If you make a cool critter with this please show me! A render is worth a thousand comments. Hope you enjoy!

May 272011
 

Trying to learn more about making controllers for actual robots, but the bge is cheaper than buying components. Thought I’d start simple so I made a little differential drive robot and some control stuff. Wanted to spice it up so I gave him a little scoop so he could pitch a ball up.

For now the drive control is completely retarded and the target (ball) sensor is arbitrary so it doesn’t mimic a real sensor like I meant it to. Working on the motor controls more right now.

.blend file (b2.57b)

The bot gets the ball, then goes to the ‘goal’, then pitches the ball up. No aiming yet, doesn’t even work real hard to point in the right direction. Sort of a spaz shot.

Actually this was an offshoot of some problems I was having while trying to make a 0G ‘satellite’ type bot. So I thought I’d limit myself to 2D for now.